"Closer Readings" Blog Posts

Lincoln’s Enduring Legacy

Hermann Faber, Deathbed scene with man holding Lincoln, 1865
Abraham Lincoln’s assassinationOn April 14 we commemorate the death of Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The years in which Lincoln served as president, 1861–1865, were among the most momentous in America’s history. A month after his election, South Carolina seceded from the Union, triggering a four-year conflict that would leave nearly a million Americans dead or wounded, four million slaves free, and a nation changed forever.Read More »

Debates over the State of Reading Seem Unsettled Today? Look to Late Nineteenth Century Newspapers to Find Out How Much, or How Little, Things Have Changed.

Woman reading in European cafe
In France and Germany in the latter half of the nineteenth century, newspapers—printed matter in general, in fact—underwent dramatic and dynamic changes. For newspapers, readership had increased greatly, and the feuilleton (pronounced, fuh-ya-tawn)—a section often starting at the bottom of the front page and continuing on the back, offering lively reportage, criticism, or serialized novels—attracted a diversity of readers who came to rely on these “little sheets of paper” as a mirror held up to society that reflected and refashioned its tastes, opinions, and quirks.Read More »

“The Song of Wandering Aengus”

Hazel Wood in Glen Fyne
I went out to the hazel wood,Because a fire was in my head,And cut and peeled a hazel wand,And hooked a berry to a thread …—W.B. YeatsAs we prepare to celebrate all things Irish this week on St. Patrick’s Day, enter the poetic dream-vision or “aisling” of Irish poet W. B. Yeats with EDSITEment’s new feature, “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”Read More »